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Overcoming Xenophobia (KAD)

Kofi Adu Domfeh/Luv 99.5 fm/Twenty Ten

Associated features: Xenophobia in Witbank (Audio feature), Xenophobic Fever (Text feature) and Xenophobia Awareness (Photo feature)

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

AUDIO: Community-based soccer events address xenophobia.

South Africa is home of mixed migration. The Apartheid struggle was fought with the support of most African countries and today, people of different nationalities seek greener pastures in the Rainbow nation. Others live here as refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from other African countries.

These immigrants unfortunately experience xenophobia, which can at times turn ugly. The widespread xenophobic attacks of 2008 did not spare any of these groups. Sixty-two people died and hundreds were displaced. The 2010 soccer fever is believed to have help calmed the situation, but African migrants in South Africa cannot be comfortable. This is because of rumours that the attacks may erupt when the tournament is over.

Twenty Ten Reporter, Kofi Adu Domfeh, reports that stakeholders are adopting community-based soccer events as part of strategies to address the problem of xenophobia.

Sfx… jubilant world cup fans (play and end10sec).

Link 1: Amidst the excitement of these Africans that the world soccer tournament is being hosted for the first time on the continent, there are fears of an eruption in xenophobic sentiments by some South Africans when the last whistle is blown to end the tournament.

Cue In: “There is an element of criminality…can coordinate those attacks”.

Link 2: Gabriel Heitis is with the African Diaspora Forum, an organization formed in the heat of the xenophobic attacks in South Africa to stop the attacks on migrants as well as offer support to victims too.

He describes the 2008 sporadic attacks as horrific, especially for migrants who lived in inner-city Johannesburg and townships in Alexandra. The unhappy victims of the attacks have not received justice and the perpetrators are yet to be punished.

Cue In: “It was so bad that…because you are frustrated”.

Link 3: The majority of South Africans, however, condemn any attack on African migrants. Journalist Atta Sibetta believes lack of education is a major cause for the xenophobic eruptions.

Cue In: “Having been out of the country…treat other people as well”.

Link 4: The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is concerned about the impact of xenophobic attacks on refugees and asylum seekers. Spokesperson Tina Ghelli is hopeful the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee by the South African government would curtail further eruptions. But she says prevention of potential attacks demands a lot of dedication from interest groups.

Cue In: “We all have heard the rumours…it’s unacceptable”.

Link 5: Newton Muli of the International Organization for Migration says integration is as important to migrants as it is to communities in managing xenophobia.

Cue In: “In managing migration…local host communities”.

Link 6: For now, the UNHCR and the IOM are supporting the African Diaspora Forum in organizing social events in the South African communities aimed at integration. One of the main activities is soccer. Gabriel says the soccer platform is also used to educate the host communities to appreciate the presence of the migrants.

Cue In: “It’s an issue of education…this thing can be overcame”.

Link 7: As all Africans unite behind the participating African teams, migrants in South Africa expect the 2010 World Cup to heal all wounds and serve as a turning point in the relationship between immigrants and South Africans.

Sfx… song play and fade out.

From the cities of Joburg and Pretoria in South Africa, Kofi Adu Domfeh reporting for the Twenty Ten Project.

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